Between writing on the blog site(s), producing and hosting the various and sundry radio talk shows, the production and hostings of several times a week video blogs and the daily written quick hits on various and sundry social media, there are few hours in the day that pass without one comment or another of a political nature being generated by the guy whose words you are reading right now.
Lately, though, there is one thing that I do very little, if at all.
And that's "engage" others when they have comments to make about my writing and/or talking about politics.
It's not that I don't enjoy a spirited discussion, even an intense debate on the issues of the day and the positions that we all, respectively, take on those positions.
And when I'm hosting live radio talk, it's a little rude, not to mention impractical, to solicit listeners to call in so we can talk about the issues of the day and then decide I don't want to talk to them about it.
So, the "very little, if at all" I mentioned earlier has to do with live radio.
As far as the rest of it, the blogs, the vidcasts and, most of all, social media, I usually simply just read the comments offered and move along, resisting the temptation to pick up any verbal gauntlet or succumb to any baiting done with a turn of phrase or a shot across my bow.
Again, it's not that I'm not down with discussin'.
Frankly, I blame it on Pee Wee Herman.
More on that in a few minutes.
One of the more suddenly common, and, frankly, annoying traits I'm finding in the current culture when it comes to political debate and/or discussion is a little maneuver I've affectionately dubbed, "The Pivot."
It applies to almost any debate and/or discussion and I'll share a little more of that shortly, but, for the sake of explanation, let's use this very, very, very common example.
Those who hate Barack Obama and are impatiently waiting for January 2017 to show up with a frantic, gleeful anticipation that makes waiting for Santa on Christmas Eve seem like watching paint dry are masters at the Obama edition of "The Pivot".
No matter what the topic, issue, problem, controversy, etc, et al, they can find a way to pivot back to, and blame, Obama.
Here's just one of an infinite number of possible examples.
"Well, Patty Duke died somewhat suddenly at just 69, the victim of sepsis, which is a reaction the body has to an infection that can damage vital organs...and she was apparently suffering badly during the final hours of her life...in a hospital near her home in Idaho....she reportedly got the best care available although no one has mentioned whether the family had to pay for that care out of pocket or she was insured, chances are, she was pretty famous and so probably pretty wealthy and able to pay for her own medical care and you've gotta envy her that because my brother in law was in the hospital for a week last month and the bill was outrageous but, of course, he couldn't afford to pay for it out of pocket and he let his insurance lapse when the premiums went up thanks to that damned "Affordable, shu-yeah, right Care thing forced on us by that damn.........wait for it.........OBAMA.."
Obama is not the only go-to when it comes to the pivot, but he is certainly the most well worn and applied.
Lately, though, the other applicants for the lease at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave are finding themselves pivoted to fairly often, as well.
With one exception.
Nobody ever pivots to the Donald.
Fact is, what pivoting gets done these days is very much about pivoting away from Trump and to whoever is handy, headlining and/or hated, depending on person, place and situation.
Which brings us back to why I don't engage others when they have comments to make about my writing and/or talking about politics.
Engaging is a pointless, useless, exercise in futility that comes in the shape of a circle.
As in round and round and round it goes and where it stops, well, actually, it just keeps going round and round and round and round.
We don't honestly discuss Donald with each other.
We simply play the pivot.
Here's an example of how the discussion should go, but doesn't.
And the pivot that shouldn't play a part but does.
Donald says that women who get abortions "should be punished."
Do more of us agree, than disagree, with Donald on his stand? Why or why not?
Well, Hillary let those people die in Benghazi, what about that, huh? what about that?
Donald has, to be fair, said very little about the specifics of his plans to "Make America Great Again".
Aren't we all entitled to specifics so that we can all make a fair and informed decision when it comes to voting for, or against, Mr. Trump in November?
Well, Bernie wants to take the money you earn and give it to lazy people, what about that, huh? what about that?
If Donald has not incited violence at his rallies, he has done little or nothing to discourage violence at his rallies.
Is it not reasonable to expect that a candidate for the highest office in the land should be a role model and/or set the very best example possible?
Well, Hillary, she's no role model and, pshht, some example, she let those people die in Benghazi, what about that, huh? what about that?
You know what?
You're absolutely right.
What about that?
Here's the answer to that question.
That, in every example used above, has absolutely NOTHING to do with the damn topic or the discussion we should be having about it.
One day last week, I posted on Facebook what was obviously, and intentionally, meant to be a satirical poke at Trump.
I shared the link to a news story about a nurse in New York who lost her license because it was discovered that, for, God only knows, what reason, she had been taking snapshots of patient's penises and showing them to her co-workers.
Hey, slow day in the ER, okay, c'mon, there's only so much Wheel Of Fortune you can watch before rigor sets in.
Meanwhile, I posted this impish punchline to the link sharing.
"Sources report that also found in the nurse's possession were pictures of Donald Trump's hands."
An acquaintance of mine from a long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away, posted the following comment in reponse to my little ha ha.
"Come on. I know you don't like the guy. But that's a cheap shot."
First, I know from cheap shots.
And that wasn't even close to a cheap shot.
More simultaneously intelligence insulting, and hilarious, to me, though, was any proximity of any kind of the terms "Donald Trump" and "cheap shot."
My inner reaction to this poster's outer response was double pronged.
"Hey, I was kidding, for criminy's sake."
And...are you fucking kidding me?
After a moment or two, I realized what I was dealing with here.
It wasn't overt or as blatant as many can be, but it was, pretty close to certain, a thinly veiled version of the pivot.
Deflecting any kind of blame, diss, poke, punch and/or criticism of the laugh a minute GOP frontrunner.
I think it took me a minute to get it because there was no mention of Benghazi.
Here's the point.
We should having, and deserve to have, honest, open, if necessary, passionate discussions about this man and his policies, qualifications, promises, pledges, etc.
Those discussions are not taking place.
When the need arises to discuss and/or debate if your three and my three can possibly add up to six, the conversation almost immediately turns to why seven is a lucky number.
You are not completely wrong about every political opinion you have.
Nor completely right.
And I am not completely wrong about every political opinion I have.
Nor completely right.
But you and I are never going to enjoy the benefits of combining our rights and minimizing our wrongs because we don't talk right and wrong.
We don't discuss.
We don't debate.
We just pivot.
In a manner that would make the master of the pivot beam with pride and joy.
Pee Wee Herman.
Last time I checked, though, "I know you are, but what am I?" never really accomplishes anything.